What will happen to all the empty houses?
The Emphasis Game: The Case-Shiller house price index is out. Depending on which part of the data you wanted to emphasize – the 10-city index, the 20-city index, adjusted, unadjusted – house prices are either up a little bit, flat, down a little bit, or down a lot. Best guess is things were pretty flat – 0.1% of 170,000 is pretty much statistical noise.
The Golden Age: After 30 years of decreasing federal regulation, decreasing taxes, decreasing unionism the US should be entering an age of plenty for all – according to Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and the GOP. How are things in your neck of the woods?
It's A Gas!Insiders are suggesting that the extracting natural gas from shale isn't all it's fracked up to be, that shale gas is “inherently unprofitable” in today's market and that boosters may be... overstating? the productivity, profitability and the size of their reserves.
Bad to Worse: Scientific research confirms that humankind has raised the Earth's temperature a little less than 1ºC so far, and that - absent a dramatic change in our carbon emissions – another 3ºC rise is inevitable by 2100. If 1ºC is enough to melt the Arctic, and it is, 4ºC will be a disaster, one from which technology will not save us.
Not Necessarily News: Republicans are willing to accept cuts in defense spending rather than agree to even one cent in increased taxation.
Halfway House: Both parties have drawn lines in the sand on deficit reduction, with Democrats demanding tax increases and the Republicans refusing to talk about them. Obama offered to raise $600 billion through tax hikes and the elimination of various subsidies – which goes half-way to reducing the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion, just like the GOP wants. They just said no. Nancy would have been proud.
Today's Puzzler: If Brazil has to preserve its Amazonian rainforest, why does the US get to burn up Canada's tar sands?
Sneak Attack: West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf is being eroded from below by warm currents from the deep ocean. The glacier is dashing into the sea at 2.5 miles a year and dumping 80 cubic kilometers of ice into the ocean – 50% faster than 25 years ago.
One More: Along with fires in Arizona and floods in Minot and riots in Athens, don't forget that 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are suffering under the worst drought in 60 years. Add them to the list.
Perspective: Medicaid serves 68 million Americans, including the disabled, the elderly, certain women and children, and the poor. House Republicans, not being personally acquainted with a lot of poor people, want to cut the program- a lot. Just 5% the first year, but 15% in 2014 and by 35% by 2021.
Pot/Kettle: Michelle Bachmann says the Democrats are using 'scare tactics' and assures us that "the interest on the debt could easily be paid.” Maybe someone should ask her about the
And what will happen to all the people from all the empty houses?